For years, I’ve been trying to re-orient our family away from stuff and toward more meaningful gifts. I have failed for a variety of reasons. I like stuff. I like new electronics. I like to lavish things on my wife and children. But what I really want to give them is a heart for others. It’s up to the dad to set the spiritual temperature in the home, and the generosity temperature. It’s hard to give generosity if you don’t have it.
We’ve done the gift boxes for Samaritan’s Purse. The kids loved filling the shoeboxes and decorating them. We’ve been talking about buying soccer balls or a goat through their on line catalog. SHIPPING DEADLINE IS NOV. 24.
Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program is also very cool, totally righteous. Buying gifts for children of the incarcerated is another way of “visiting those who are in prison” (Matthew 25).
I just found a new project, which has true life-sustaining, life-improving potential. Charity: Water builds wells and teaches rural poor in Liberia (and elsewhere) about sanitation and hygiene.
Liberia should get lots of special attention from the U.S. as it was the landing place for mid-19th century black Americans who wanted to return to Africa. And, again, believers are charged to give water to the thirsty (Matthew 25). I cannot remember a time when I was thirsty and did not have a drink of clean water within seconds or minutes. But one-sixth of the people on the planet are thirsty for clean water every day of their lives. Thousands die daily for lack of it.
And for the month of December, maybe I’ll re-direct our entire family’s spare change to the Salvation Army’s red kettles.
I’ll keep trying to give away more and indulge less. I’ll get along without some new gadget for a bit longer. And when I do get my next toy, I won’t feel guilty about it, because a few more people are drinking clean water.